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Johnny Marr Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (8)  | Personal Quotes (30)

Overview (3)

Born in Longsight, Manchester, England, UK
Birth NameJohn Martin Maher
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Johnny Marr made his name as lead guitarist with the cult British rock band, The Smiths, regarded by some as one of the most influential bands of the 1980s. Along with Morrissey, Marr created some of the most memorable and acclaimed songs of that decade, with Morrissey's witty, satirical lyrics and plaintive vocals perfectly complemented by Marr's distinctive jangly guitar style. The band's catchy melodies and Morrissey's eccentric and charismatic stage presence ensured that The Smiths developed a large and devoted following in the UK. To this day, they are name-checked by most up-and-coming British guitar bands as an influence. Personality clashes between Marr and Morrissey meant an acrimonious end for The Smiths in 1987. Morrissey forged a successful career as a solo artist, while Marr became a much sought-after session musician and "guitar for hire", working briefly with artists such as The Pretenders and Bryan Ferry, before more extensive and notable work with Electronic and The The in the early 90s. In the late 90s, he formed a new band, Johnny Marr's Healers.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Rob Davies

Spouse (1)

Angie Brown (1986 - present)

Trivia (8)

Voted the North West of England's best guitarist in Total Guitar Magazine's poll of the greatest 12 British guitarists. [July 2001]
Radiohead's Ed O'Brien claims Marr was the reason he picked up a guitar as a teenager.
Supports Manchester City football club.
Used to play football and was approached by Nottingham Forest but decided to concentrate on his music.
Despite his reputation as British indie rock's most respected and influential guitarist, not a single Marr riff was voted into the Total Guitar Magazine poll of the 100 greatest riffs of all time. [June 2004]
His favorite album is "Raw Power" by 'Iggy & the Stooges'.
Winner of the 2007 Q Lifetime Achievement Award.
His trademark sound was created on a Black 1983 Rickenbacker 330 guitar.

Personal Quotes (30)

No one has any respect for someone who can play a million notes per minute but can't put together a decent tune that someone can sing to or feel some sort of emotion from.
I have a healthy respect for guitarists like Joe Satriani and Eddie Van Halen (Edward Van Halen), disciplined players who really know what they're doing - if you're going to be a virtuoso, you can't be hit-and-miss. But I think people like Yngwie Malmsteen should be forgotten as soon as possible.
I'm interested in melody, lyrics and the overall song. I don't like to waste notes, not even one. I like to put the right note in the right place, and my influences have always been those kinds of players. Keith Richards comes to mind, and I really like Nils Lofgren's soloing, because he's so melodic. I love John Lennon's rhythm playing, and George Harrison was an incredible guitarist.
It was good to be in a group that stood for and against certain things. We were against synthesizers, the Conservative government, groups with names like Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, the English monarchy, cock-rock guitar solos and the American music scene at the time. We stood for the Englishness of The Kinks, T. Rex and Roxy Music, the arty quirks that kept those groups from being huge in the US.
[on Radiohead's plan in 2007 to let fans choose how much to pay for their new album] We'll see if their good faith is going to be rewarded. I think it will work. I think people are fundamentally more decent than the corporate world would give them credit for. I think it's a really fantastic idea because it puts the responsibility back on people's own consciences and deals with people as grown ups. It's not hiding behind any corporate nonsense, it's just saying 'this is the way it is, let's get on with it'. Everyone knows you can get your music for free, so let's see if you really want to show the band your appreciation.
[on Roy Harper] One of the best singers and writers British rock has ever produced.
[on getting the NME's Godlike Genius Award] It is a very nice thing to be getting this award. The NME seems to be good at giving this award to people I like, so I'm in good company. I guess it means that some things are alright with the world.
The post-punk era is where I come from... I'm very proud to come from that generation. We were the people who went on to make indie records in the '80s.
I don't think The Smiths was ever going to be a band that was still together 35, 40 years later like R.E.M. or U2. Morrissey and I are very different people and both very willful and eventually those two people are going to want to go in their own different directions.
I'm totally cool with having a sound. That's something that happened towards the end of my thirties. I think it's a healthy thing to kick against the typecast or the stereotypes. That's absolutely fine, and that's the prerogative of a young musician. But I've tried all sorts of things and that's kind of gone into the way I play now. When you get older, if people are saying they know you have a sound then, man, you're pretty lucky.
I've always had a blind spot to the music of Queen. It was all-pervasive when I was growing up in the late 1970s and it seems like everyone reveres it. I'm sure they're nice fellas but it never did anything for me at all. Perhaps it's because it's very choral and written on piano. I just couldn't click with it. I like Brian May, I just don't like Queen.
[asked if he has ever played football with fellow Manchester City fans Liam Gallagher and Noel Gallagher] I kicked a ball around with them in my studio when they were first starting out [in Oasis]. I've still got the ball because I asked them to sign it for my kid. They were both pretty good. Noel's a tricky winger himself, actually.
[asked if he has ever seen Morrissey playing football] Yeah, he was pretty good. Pretty fast. He was a surging midfield general. He was quite imposing.
I wouldn't be unhappy if Barack Obama got into The Smiths. I'd send [our albums] to him. I don't like politicians, but I like Obama.
[asked if he feels more exposed as a solo artist] Yeah, you have to be 75 per cent braver. When you're in a group you only need 25 per cent of the bravery, which is part of the appeal [laughs].
[on David Cameron mentioning he likes The Smiths' music] I do forbid him to like it. He shouldn't like us because we're not his kind of people.
[on how he relaxes] By staying up too late watching nonsense on YouTube.
[on what he likes to do when he's not playing music] Reading - David Hockney's A Bigger Message, Friedrich Schiller's An Aesthetic Education Of Man. I put my hood up and run around cities listening to pop music and soundtracks as much as I can.
[on his reputation as being very humble and down to earth and whether it has been hard to not let his ego run wild] Well, I think the work, whatever that is at any point, is the most important thing. Secondly, most of the people I've known with gigantic egos are pretty miserable. I also have always had good people around me who wouldn't really put up with too much nonsense. I do have my moments though.
[asked whether sex was important to him] Yes. Life would be easier for some people if it wasn't such a big deal. My wife and I have been together since we were kids, since 1979. We both feel pretty lucky. I'm not an idiot; I know when I'm on to a good thing.
[asked whether he ever spent a night in a hospital] No, not a full one. I crashed a BMW into a wall when I was in The Smiths, even though I couldn't actually drive at the time. I did my back and neck in pretty badly but checked out after a few hours. I wore a neck brace - Morrissey was very envious.
I used to smoke 40 cigarettes a day. It took me about three attempts to stop - and it was tortuous, to say the least.
[on The Stone Roses' reunion] I'm pleased for them because I think a lot of it is about friendship.
[on whether he has any new and/or favourite tattoos] I'm designing a new one, the last one I think, which is an atomic explosion and therefore pretty tricky to draw. I usually like my '45' tattoo best, maybe because it's so simple and has a lot of significance for me. It's religious, believe it or not.
[2009; asked whether he is happy] I work on it. As a teenager I had a lot of things on a checklist that I feel blessed that I've achieved, such as: get to play with your heroes, be in a really important band, stay up for days... But what's next? Either sit around listening to your old records, which doesn't interest me, or carry on travelling without a map. I have a compulsion to move forward. It's the only way to live.
I first met him [Bernard Sumner] in 1983 while doing a record for Mike Pickering (who's the "M" in M-People) which Bernard was producing. I thought he was a bit spacey but very street. It didn't take me long to work out that he was from Salford, just the other side of Manchester from me. He reminded me of the kids who used to ride scooters around when I was a kid. I sussed him out pretty quickly, but only to a point. I think anyone who knows him will tell you that he's not entirely fathomable.
Bernard's [Bernard Sumner] very single-minded, he knows what he's about, but at the same time he's open-minded and non-judgmental. He's also got good control over his ego. Everyone in this business has to have an ego, but it's important to him that he has a life and values outside the music industry. That's really rare.
I never make a distinction between a friendship and a working relationship in terms of bands. Without the very close friendship I can't be in a band. While I'm most closely associated with Morrissey, Bernard [Sumner] and I finish each others' sentences (which is scary because I don't know what he's on about half the time).
Bernard [Sumner] doesn't care about the past, or the future, he lives in the present. I'm sure he's got some principles but he hides them! He wants to be a bit more disciplined in his life and it pisses him off that he isn't. He kicks himself when he's gone out and partied too hard. When he goes out he can be like the Pied Piper. I've seen him rock a little hut on an island in the Maldives. He got a family - little kids, grandparents, people who would never be seen dancing - whistling and whooping around to Technotronic until 4 am.
We have seen to have gone down some rabbit hole of earnestness and faux sincerity. A great song doesn't have to be someone sitting on the porch or by a campfire, offering emotional exposition with everybody crying into their cider. There quite enough people singing from the heart. What's wrong with singing from the brain?

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